The man who drove his Cadillac into the Mount Ephraim McDonald's last month – killing three women – says he's sorry. His attorney released a statement of apology on Monday. The driver, Frank Nastasi, also says that the crash was an accident, not a suicide attempt as he initially told police.
The flag still flies at half-staff in front of the Mount Ephram McDonald's on the Black Horse Pike. It was last month when a speeding Cadillac plowed through the restaurant, killing three local women.
Prosecutors say that the driver, Frank Nastasi of Haddon Heights, told them he did it on purpose in a suicide attempt, and even today people like this long-time friend of victim Joann Bowen believe that story.
Lillian Kolesinski/VICTIM'S FRIEND: "With that road directly in front of that McDonald's, with that car going at that speed, there was no doubt in my mind what he wanted to do."
It's a key point, since Nastasi is charged with aggravated manslaughter, in part because of the suicide story. But his lawyer says the story is wrong.
Atty. Charles Nugent, Jr./NASTASI'S LAWYER: "There are easier ways to commit suicide. You can slice your wrists. You can take pills. You can jump off a bridge. What you don't do is drive into a building in a vehicle with an airbag." Attorney Charles Nugent, Jr. says Nastasi's statement was taken by police while he was still hospitalized, traumatized, and probably on painkillers. He says that from the start Nastasi has told him it was an accident, and immediately wanted to contact the families to express his regret.
His lawyer has advised against that, but read a statement on Monday directed to the victim's families.
Atty. Charles Nugent, Jr./NASTASI'S LAWYER: "He wants these families to know that he will carry the weight of this accident with him the rest of his life. He has prayed for forgiveness from God, and from these families. He knows that there are no words that can ease the pain of their loss."
Police have already ruled out health problems and mechanical failure in the crash. Nastasi's attorney says he's bringing in his own team of experts to review the facts.
Meanwhile, the McDonald's in Mount Ephram is still closed. In fact, there's still a large area of plywood marking the spot where the car went through the front of the restaurant, and a memorial remains in front of the building.
Frank Nastasi posted $375,000 bail and was released on Friday. He faces a possible ninety year sentence if convicted.